The University of Iowa

No-Longer-A-Tourist Status

July 1st, 2014

By Brooke Axness*

It’s been a pretty awesome week here in the Mother-city! I finally feel like I have the hang of getting around here. I also have come strides in what I know now and what I knew when I first came. The research projects I have been doing are definitely widening my knowledge about global health. I also had the opportunity to observe a mitral valve replacement surgery this week. Pharrell’s song “Happy” was basically the theme song/background music to the rest of my day because I was on cloud nine after that. Everything seems in balance here now, which I couldn’t be happier about!

two girls jumping

The definition of happy at Cape of Good Hope

The weather this past week has been impeccably good considering I am living in the Capetownian “winter.” Of course I embraced it, walking to work without a coat, only to get “are you crazy?!” looks by most of the passer-bys who are still wearing stocking caps and big coats. I guess that’s what happens when the only other winter you have to compare it to is Iowa’s! Since the weather allowed it, we spent most of our weekend, and week outside soaking it up while it lasted.

 On Saturday we traveled a couple hours away from the city centre to a place called Simon’s Town, where Boulder’s Beach is located. This famous beach is known for the penguins that call it home. It was the coolest thing to walk on the path and run into a huge flock of them. Who knew there were even penguins in South Africa? From there we traveled to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope, which is the most Southwesterly tip of South Africa. The views were literally breathtaking! No picture could ever do it justice!

penguins in South Africa


The view from Cape Point

The sun continued through Sunday, when we even got to wear shorts outside! I can’t explain how great that was considering the cold, rainy mess it has been the previous weeks. A couple of friends and myself decided it was a perfect day to go up to the top of Table Mountain. For those who don’t know, Table Mountain is the most prominent landmark of Cape Town. The mountain is also on the list of the new seven wonders of nature. It’s huge and has a flat top, where a park is located for people to visit and take in the beautiful views of the city and sea. Though you can hike it (it takes 2-3 hours), there is also a cable car that is available to shuttle people to the top of the 3,558 ft. high mountain. Being the out of shape, lazy person I am I definitely took advantage of that! Once we got to the top, we took pictures and walked around for about 45 minutes before heading back down on the cable car.

photos from Table Mountain South Africa

Click for full size
 Views from Table Mountain

I have definitely gotten used to everyday life here in SA. Some man on the street even mistook me for a native (Is there any bigger compliment? I THINK NOT). It’s weird to think that I have only been here for about 4 weeks, but also that my time here is about half over. Nevertheless, I am living the dream and loving every minute of it here in Cape Town!

*Brooke Axness, a native of Fort Dodge, IA, is a sophomore majoring in biology and global health studies at the University of Iowa. This summer she is interning abroad at a hospital in Cape Town, South Africa on the Connect-123 program.